UN-Habitat is a strategic partner of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in promoting sustainable urban development. Since 1992, UN-Habitat has worked closely with the government, municipal and local authorities, especially Afghan communities, contributing to the physical and social reconstruction of the country. Our work has focused on assisting the government in the development of urban policies and regulations; strategic urban planning; increasing municipal revenue; establishing community-based organizations; addressing the land and housing needs of IDPs and returnees and contributing to the provision of basic urban services.

Population (2018)
36.37 million
Total value of projects
US$ 345,453,652
No. of projects (2014 - 2019)
Total: 30

Informality is not the exception but the rule. 80 % of urban Afghans live in informal areas. The vast majority of the population live in under-serviced, informal housing with little tenure security and very poor access to basic services such as water and sanitation.

The longstanding conflict contributed to weak governance and considerable urban challenges including poverty, inequality, social exclusion, youth unemployment, and gender inequality. Lack of urban planning coupled with rapid Afghanistan’s urbanization process steered by rural-urban migration plus massive flux of returning Afghan refugees from neighboring countries and internally displaced by the conflict and the drought, make Afghan cities underserviced.

However, Afghanistan’s future is urban. The population of Afghan cities is expected to double within the next 15 years and be 50% urban by 2060 and urbanization is a powerful driver for development. So far, more than 50% of the national GDP is originated in Afghan cities.

Around $7 Million municipal fees collected in additional revenue for Kabul and other municipalities. 300,000 Municipal fee invoices distributed to residents of informal and formal urban areas.
Upgrade of 49 parks in 12 Afghan Municipalities.
Urban numbers
The urban population annual growth rate is 3.41%
The percentage of the total population that is urban is 25.25%
Deputy Minister of Urban Development and Land

“We are looking forward to continuing working with UN-Habitat, building safer, sustainable and resilient cities for all, and above all, serving the Afghan people and our youth, the future of this country.”

H.E. Roshan Wolusmal, Deputy Minister of Urban Development and Land

Leaving no one and no place behind

Hover over or click the icons to learn about UN-Habitat's work on social inclusion here.

Human rights are at the heart of UN-Habitat’s work in Afghanistan through all our projects in the field. In addition, UN-Habitat Afghanistan co-chairs the Housing, Land, and Property Rights Taskforce (HLP-TF). The aim of the task force is to increase access to land, tenure security, and housing as an essential component of humanitarian response and durable solutions.

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UN-Habitat programmes opened the door to a greater role of women in decision making processes through a number of programmes and initiatives. In property rights and the acquisition of occupancy certificates, women have now the right to possess an occupancy certificate under their name. Women are also an integral part of participatory processes in strategic action planning initiatives at the community level in Kabul and 8 other municipalities. A key achievement in this area has been the official representation of women in the establishment of Community Development Councils, sub-national governance structures. These bodies should be composed of at least 50 percent of women.

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All UN-Habitat programmes target the most vulnerable sectors of the population in Afghanistan, namely children and youth. Afghanistan has indeed one of the youngest population in the world with almost 80% of the population under 30 years.

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Sustainable urban development can only be achieved if persons with disabilities are included meaningfully in decision-making and are able to access their rights. UN-Habitat partners with representative groups and individual rights holders, as well as national and local governments, relevant UN bodies and civil society to maximize impact and to meaningfully ensure that the rights including accessibility and universal design of persons with disabilities are promoted, respected and protected. 

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Donors and partners

The success of UN-Habitat is dependent on the strategic and trustful relationships with the government, at the national and local level, and with the communities. With more than twenty years of impactful interventions, UN-Habitat has managed to meet the government and community needs due to the strong partnerships always driven and led by our local partners. Local ownership has always been at the center of our interventions.


United States of America
Fukuoka International Exchange Foundation
European Commission


Fernando Da Cruz Function
Deputy Country Representative

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